Strap In Bears' Fans - Angelo's Coming Back Next Year, and That's Okay

Recently, the NFL Network passed along the rumor of Jerry Angelo's impending retirement after the season; Angelo denied the rumor in typical Jerry fashion, stating that his wife "would like to see (him) gainfully employed." While we can hope that the rumors end up being true, I'm actually okay with Angelo being around another year. Hit the jump if you haven't hit your computer yet to find out why I'd say something so inflammatory.

First of all, I don't think Jerry Angelo is a good General Manager. And full disclosure, the first post I had on WCG described why I had finally accepted Lovie as a solid coach and bemoaned the existence of Gentle Jerry. However, if Jerry returns for next season - which is still in the air since rumors come from somewhere - I'm okay with that, and I think it benefits the Bears in the long run.

Angelo is under contract through 2013, which means after this season he's under contract for another two seasons. I doubt he would walk away from an additional two years of pay, especially since Jerry prides himself on his supposed legacies (see: any comment he's made about building the Bucs into a Super Bowl champion after he left). He sees that this season was derailed by two key injuries (and affected by a bunch of others), and that the Bears are going to be all-in for next season to be a success. Next year will be a crucial year for success in part because of the age of key defenders, and the likely franchise tag of Forte which provides no long-term security for either player or team. So unfortunately for us, all the Jelly-effigy burning in the world likely won't get rid of him this offseason.

Now, why would the return of a middling-to-gawdawful GM be a positive for the Bears' long-term? If Angelo retired after this year, the likely succession plan would include the elevation of Tim Ruskell (former Seattle GM and current Bears' Director of Player Personnel), who gets minus points for his tenure at Seattle (end result: not terrible, but not good, either) and double minus points for being Angelo's crony.

The McCaskey's are not going to blow up the front office after this season, but depending on how things go next year, either the Bears have a good season or Angelo/Ruskell could (should!) be gone and a new GM brought in to run the show. Frankly, I don't know if Ruskell would be a good GM in his second stint on the job, but I would like to see outside candidates brought in to see who would be best at it (and don't ask for alternatives, since we're talking in hypotheticals at least a year away from happening) rather than have Jerry just pat Tim on the back and say, "its your turn, Tim, I'm outta here."

In my professional experience in college athletics, and just a general fan point of view from being a sports nut, either organizations are run successfully or they're not. If they're run well, then the nepotism/inside promotion angle is a fine way of maintaining a solid foundation for success (ala New England and Pittsburgh); if they're run poorly, changes need to be made as high up as possible to eliminate the problem (or, why Washington still is struggling thanks to Dan the Man). These situations are the examples of the rule, but exceptions exist (look at Detroit with Mayhew). My professional experience includes getting interviewed by Human Resources at my old job (college coach) during an Athletic Director search to identify what I wanted to see from the search. I essentially said, "We need outside candidates to interview to compare to our interior promotion candidates, and give the best candidate the job." What'd they do? Hired the baseball coach/assistant A.D. with a drinking problem. Why, because they are institutionally flawed and want people in place they can control, not someone who could potentially upset the apple cart by bringing in new ideas or setting higher goals; its classic "keep the status quo" versus "take a chance" mentality in business or sport.

So, yes, we're possibly stuck with Angelo another year, but on the bright side, maybe we can avoid having Jerry Jr for the foreseeable future.

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